Day 11: Katakana (1)

Starting today, we will study katakana. Katakana is for loan words.

This is the basic katakana chart. In vertical writing, we read from top to bottom, right to left. Therefore, the first letter is ア at the top right of this chart, and the last letter is ン at the top left.


Today, we will study the first two columns: ア、イ、ウ、エ、オ、カ、キ、ク、ケ、コ.

ア、イ、ウ、エ、オ  are written in Romaji as a, i, u, e, o, respectively.

“a” is pronounced as ah (like in Ah).
“i” is pronounced as ee (like in cheese).
“u” is pronounced as oo (like in good).
“e” is pronounced as eh (like in set).
“o” is pronounced as oh (like in go).

カ、キ、ク、ケ、コ are written in Romaji as ka, ki, ku, ke, ko, and they are pronounced as kah, kee, koo, keh, koh, respectively.

In the picture below, the stroke order is shown in blue. Try to write each letter with the correct stroke order.


・Can you recognize each letter?
・Can you pronounce them properly?
・Can you write them properly?


Here are some examples. Inside the parentheses are Romaji letters.

エアー(エア)(ea-/ea) is air.
エコ (eko) is eco.

Some vowels are lengthened. In katakana, The elongation mark “ー” shows that the vowel before it has a prolonged sound.

キー (ki-) is key.

Sometimes, Japanese loan words sound different from the original ones. For example, ケーキ (ke-ki), pronounced as kehkee, is cake. That is because Japanese words always end with vowels.